Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sonoma’s Wine Country Weekend

Say yes to vino at a delicious upcoming fete



 



Sonoma County, California, has more soil types than the entire country of France. With 17 AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), you’ll find an amazing variety of tastes and terroirs. On one hand, no place could be more sophisticated and upscale. On the other, no place could be warmer, friendlier or more down-to-earth. Somehow, the area has managed to balance both sides into a beautiful blend. A lot like their wines – a perfect marriage of varietals into myriad bottles of viticultural magic. And no time is better to experience this piece of paradise than during Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2016, coming up Sept. 2-4.
 

The three major events during the weekend couldn’t illustrate the range of experiences more clearly. On Friday night, Sept. 2, the spotlight’s on Sonoma Starlight at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

Inspired by Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, the winery’s buildings and grounds set the mood for enjoyment. Grand steps lead up the hillside to the entry patio and the winery tasting room. To the right is a view of a vast public space and a magnificent swimming pool. Of course, on the night of Sonoma Starlight, the view is somewhat obstructed by all the guests, but they make an interesting sight, too.

The evening will be all about wine tasting. Around the huge outdoor deck, areas are set aside for different varietals and styles of wine – last year from 34 different wineries. Another dozen wineries were pouring in the Reserve Wine Room.

Sonoma is as noted for cuisine as for wine. Combine the local growing climate, the burgeoning locavore movement and a plethora of fine chefs and, voila, you are ready for an edible experience. Last year, a variety of vendors at Sonoma Starlight offered treats from Sonoma cheeses and charcuterie through house-cured ham, 14-hour smoked beef brisket, chili-butter roasted corn, blackberry port sorbet and so, so much more.

Guests chatted, danced, tasted, sipped, played bocce and still found time to tour the Coppola Movie Gallery in the tasting building. Golden Oscars stood on a shelf near Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather movies. A red Tucker auto from Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) rotates slowly on the floor below. Other cases hold memorabilia including elaborate costumes from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Sonoma Starlight tickets are $125 or $175 for reserve privileges.

For visitors to the winery during regular hours, the pool with its European changing-rooms is available to the public, and the restaurant serves lunch and dinner. It was Coppola’s intention to create a place for families, not just for adults.



(clockwise from left)  Pinot Noir grapes at MacMurray vineyards are ready for harvest. |  Different areas of the MacMurray vineyards give unique characteristics to different labels of Pinot Noir. | This view of part of the MacMurray property gives a hint at the variety in the landscape.
 


 

The huge, outdoor party known as Taste of Sonoma is held on the grounds of the MacMurray Estate Vineyards. (Those of a more mature vintage will remember actor Fred MacMurray, and his daughter Kate still has a close association with the vineyards.)

The event features approximately 200 Sonoma wineries and dozens of local chefs. Different tents representing particular AVAs feature wines and food pairings. In the marketplace, stock up on local coffees, sauces, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Pop-up vendors feature items from duck tacos to paella.

When you purchase your tickets, you’ll have the opportunity to buy tickets to special sessions from cooking sessions to wine talks. At Pair with the Pros last year, Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom and Executive Chef Justin Wangler and their teams presented three dishes and appropriate wines, like a garden crudité with Green Goddess dressing paired with a 2013 Kendall-Jackson Winery Jackson Estate Chardonnay. The other two offerings were equally impressive. These carefully chosen combinations reveal subtle nuances in both wine and food.

This is a casual event calling for cool clothing and sun hats. Booking a shuttle is advised – the traffic’s fierce, and after all the tasting, drivers are hot targets for local police. Event tickets are $165 and $195. Taste of Sonoma sells out quickly – tickets went on sale in mid-May – so if you’re interested, order immediately.

 

The coda to the weekend is the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean. The chateau grounds become a colorful fair with booths and tables of more wineries, vintners, sommeliers and chefs. The highlight of the afternoon, held in a huge, air-conditioned tent, is an elegant luncheon and auction that benefits local charities.

You will find wines among the auction lots, but items range from private dinners to European trips. This is a deep-pocket event, so unless you have thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of dollars to throw around, sit on your hands! Last year’s event raised $3.4 million in just a couple of hours. Tickets for this party are $500.



(clockwise from left)  Lively bidding helped raise $3.4 billion for local charities at the Wine Auction. | The California Mission-style Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn was built in 1927. | Umbrellas and canopies shade pre-auction activities at the Wine Auction.
 


 

Even if you attend all the events, you’re going to have a lot of time in the area. Take time to enjoy the wide variety of wineries and tasting rooms. At many of the boutique wineries, the owners are closely involved in the whole growing/winemaking process and will take time to discuss oenology philosophy with you.

The concierge at my host hotel, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, suggested three ways to visit the wineries: chauffeur service to the wineries of your choice; a wine host for a more exclusive private tour; or a group tour. The concierge can arrange all these services.

Although I recommend taking a shuttle to the big events, if you have your own car, you can see a lot easily. And try a number of the interesting restaurants in the area, too.

By the end of the weekend last year, I had been royally wined and dined. I’d sampled dozens of wines and tasted tidbits both beautiful and delicious. Best of all, I’d met people devoted to the land and to producing wines that could compete anywhere in the world. For wine-lovers, who could ask for anything more?

► Photo-Credits: Wine Auction by George Rose Photography; Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn by Elaine Warner

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

What's Up in the 405

Our top 6 picks for fun stuff to do in and around OKC

Star screenings at OKCMOA

Metro movie lovers to vote on this year’s star film shorts

Join the Neighborhood Jam

Hal Smith group gets set to open a new breakfast restaurant

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Friends to Follow

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2017

Join us for "From Plant to Paper to Page," a three-day workshop by our upcoming exhibiting artist Megan Singleton! Participants will learn the basics of making paper by hand from local...

Cost: $350

Where:
[Artspace] at Untitled
1 NE 3rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: [Artspace] at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
Contact Name: Holly Hodge
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

OKCMOA’s Roof Terrace gives visitors the ultimate downtown experience every Thursday evening from April through October with live local music, the best views of downtown OKC, a relaxing...

Cost: $5

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

Organizations making a positive impact on the health of Oklahomans will be honored at the 2017 Champions of Health Gala. All proceeds benefit the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a non-profit...

Cost: TBD

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Caring Foundation
Telephone: 855.628.8642
Contact Name: Ben Johnson
Website »

More information

In this installment Jerrod Smith, creator and owner of The Society and Weldon Jack talks about how he balances art and his businesses followed by a performance by Gall.

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come find your lost shaker of salt on the Oklahoma River - Hawaiian print shirt optional but recommended! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure times, and pay regular...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Ever wanted to go to church with your favorite Christian artists? The Big Church Night Out Tour is not your typical tour - it’s going to be a time of meaningful worship that also will include...

Cost: $18-$100

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Walk A Mile in Their Boots will help bring awareness to childhood cancer. At The Toby Keith Foundation/OK Kids Korral, we see children fighting the battle of their lives. We are asking our...

Cost: Race $25-$35, Activities: Free

Where:
Chatenay Square
10600 S. Pennsylvania Avenue
, OK  73170
View map »


Sponsor: The Toby Keith Foundation
Telephone: 405-271-6552
Contact Name: Lauren Polchinski
Website »

More information

Join a weekend of the arts in Guthrie, Oklahoma's landmark historic district! Stroll among the artists, taste fine wines from featured wineries, listen to live music at the two bandstands,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Guthrie
Guthrie, OK  73044


Telephone: 405.282.7778
Contact Name: Tera Dahlby
Website »

More information

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Come find your lost shaker of salt on the Oklahoma River - Hawaiian print shirt optional but recommended! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure times, and pay regular...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Witness the miracles at The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital at our inaugural gala event: Miracles on 39th Street. Join us to celebrate our beautiful new four-story, 100,000 square...

Cost: $500

Where:
The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
6800 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK  73008
View map »


Sponsor: The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
Telephone: 405.789.6711
Contact Name: Melissa Richey
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags